Sixers see loss to Jazz as step in right direction
NEW ORLEANS - The 76ers scored only four second-chance points. They were outscored, 56-10, in bench points, and they didn't have an answer for Utah Jazz reserve Alec Burks.
Ye, the Sixers believe Wednesday's 105-100 setback to the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena was a positive step.
"To get humbled the last few games the way we have been, and we were down . . . on the road in a loud building, I'm proud of what we did," said coach Brett Brown, whose squad had lost its previous two games by a combined 88 points. "Our bench, ultimately, we are going to need more from them, and some of that is just newness with Arnett" Moultrie playing in his third game of the season.
But under the circumstances, the Sixers (15-39) can cope with that heading into the all-star break. So much so that Wednesday's performance could be considered a moral victory for the team with an eight-game losing streak.
That's because the Sixers were the laughingstock of the league during their first two stops of a three-game West Coast trip.
One night after losing by 45 points to the Los Angeles Clippers, they suffered a 43-point setback against the Golden State Warriors on Monday. The Sixers joined the franchise's 1993-94 squad as the NBA's only teams to lose consecutive games by 40-plus points. That team suffered defeats of 48 and 45 points.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the combined margin of loss of 88 points was the third-largest total in consecutive games by any team in NBA history.
Those games were basically over at intermission. But on Wednesday night, with Lavoy Allen on the bench with left-knee soreness from the third quarter on, Michael Carter-Williams' three-point play knotted the score at 91 with 2 minutes, 10 seconds left. The Jazz (19-33) responded with a 9-0 run before James Anderson's three three-pointers closed the gap to 103-100 with 4.6 seconds left.
Utah guard Gordon Hayward made two foul shots before blocking Thaddeus Young's three-point attempt on the final play of the game.
"We kept fighting," said Young, who finished with 19 points and five rebounds. "A couple of balls didn't go our way at the end of the game. . . . We just have to try and take that momentum to the next level."
Burks led all scorers with 26 points.
All five of the Sixers starters were double-digit scorers, with Evan Turner finishing with a team-high 21 points. Carter-Williams added 19 points, a game-high eight assists, three blocked shots, and two steals.
The rookie point guard is a headliner for Friday's Rising Star Challenge in New Orleans for all-star weekend. The game showcases the league's top rookies and second-year players. He will also participate in Saturday in the Skills Challenge.
Which is another source of hope for the Sixers in this win-challenged season.